Benilde Hall Receives $400,000 Grant from the VA GPA Capital Grant

Benilde Hall was recently awarded a $400,000 grant from the VA GPD Capital Grant to construct a new wing that will allow Benilde Hall to move eight current beds from a group, dorm style room into single unit bedrooms with private bathrooms to ensure the health, safety, and privacy for homeless veterans.

The proposed project will construct a new wing on the south end of the existing south building.  This wing will provide 1,500 square feet to move eight beds from the group rooms with a shared bathroom to eight single-unit rooms with private bathrooms. Each unit will consist of one bedroom at 120 square feet (8’ ceilings) and a private bathroom (50 square feet) with shower, sink, stool, and toilet. The proposed construction project will be completed by a prevailing wage contractor. Benilde Hall has secured a bid and intends to work with a well-known general contractor, whom the agency has an established relationship with and has worked with in the past to successfully renovate it’s Safe Haven program expanding housing for homeless veterans.

Benilde Hall provides housing and comprehensive support services to 400 to 500 homeless adult males annually; at least 60% are veterans. Homeless Veterans are among one of the most vulnerable populations as they are more likely to have substance use disorder, mental illness, and chronic health conditions and diseases. These risk factors are even further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Seventy percent of clients presenting to Benilde Hall have a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness.  This project will ultimately decrease congregate housing and increase individual unit-style housing, allowing Benilde Hall to provide homeless veterans with safe, housing along with substance abuse treatment, mental health services, individual and group counseling, case management, and life skills development so that they can return to the community as responsible, employed, and permanently housed members of society.

Benilde Hall will construct eight individual units with private bathrooms to improve the health and safety among homeless Veterans and reduce their risk of COVID-19 exposure for GPD Veterans as a result of:

  • Reduced face-to-face exposure;
  • Increased physical distancing;
  • Ability to isolate or quarantine individuals who have tested positive or been exposed to COVID-19;
  • Limited exposure to contaminated surfaces and increased access to preventative measures, such as frequent hand washing in private sinks; and
  • Overall improved mental health and well-being, reduced stress/anxiety associated with having their own private space, and increased stability through both safe housing and intensive counseling and case management, therapy, group sessions, and aftercare.

Benilde Hall is the only housing and substance use treatment facility targeting homeless adult males in the Kansas City, Missouri region.  The agency provides emergency and transitional housing with the capacity for up to 100 men, and long-term, independent, permanent housing for up to 16 men. Through it’s Safe Haven program, Benilde Hall provides immediate housing for up to 25 veterans. In addition to housing, Benilde Hall delivers comprehensive support services to Veterans, including intensive counseling and case management, group therapy, a work therapy program, group sessions, and aftercare services ensuring Veterans have all the tools and resources they need to become self-sufficient.